Karyn A. Temple Appointed 13th Register Of Copyrights
"Register Temple has the track record to ensure implementation of the Music Modernization Act lives up to its potential." — Conversations In Advocacy #50
On March 27 the Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden named Karyn A. Temple to serve as the 13th Register of Copyrights. Among the many important decisions that lie ahead, her implementation of the Music Modernization Act stands to impact music creators the most.
"It is an extremely exciting time for copyright law and the U.S. Copyright Office, with historic revisions to the music licensing system to address the digital age, updates to our regulatory practices, and modernization of the Office's technology and business processes all happening now," Temple said. "I am honored to have the opportunity to continue working with the entire copyright community, Members of Congress, and the general public as we move forward to meet the challenges of the modern age."
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), who introduced the MMA in the previous Congress, responded quickly with praise and recognition of the modernization challenge Register Temple is well suited to lead.
"As Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee with oversight of copyright law, we look forward to working with Ms. Temple to ensure effective administration of the copyright system and the Office's ongoing modernization efforts," the lawmakers concluded.
The RIAA referred to her as "one of the country's foremost experts on copyright law" who would serve as "a trusted guardian of the U.S. copyright system."
The RIAA was actually one of Temple's previous employers in private practice, after she graduated from Columbia Law School, worked as a civil prosecutor and clerked for an appellate judge. In 2013 her work at the Copyright Office as Senior Counsel in its Office of Policy and International Affairs earned her a promotion to Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Policy and International Affairs.
In Oct. 2016, Dr. Hayden named Temple as Acting Register of Copyrights, so she has already been managing the day-to-day administration of modernization efforts. These include both the implementation of the MMA as well as the Copyright Office's own digital initiatives and efforts to upgrade its computing infrastructure. "Karyn has done a superb job as Acting Register for the last two and half years," said Dr. Hayden.
Passage of the MMA brought together stakeholders who do not always share common interests, such as internet organizations, major radio network owners and digital rights groups, but Temple was welcomed as Register by all three. The Internet Association praised her "exemplary work" and willingness to listen. The National Association of Broadcasters described Temple as "the ideal candidate to head the Copyright Office." Digital policy advocates Public Knowledge were blunt, saying, "Ms. Temple has already laid the groundwork for fixing the Copyright Office's two biggest weaknesses: woefully-antiquated information systems and a lack of even handed credibility with all copyright stakeholders."
Register Temple's primary role is as a guardian of intellectual property, not as a protector of fair use or other defensible copyright exceptions, but this good will from the community should help her accomplish the mission of modernization. Given the complexity of arts law, the perspective Registers of Copyrights add to considerations by lawmakers and judges are most welcome.
But Register Temple's warm welcome goes beyond her personal excellence because everyone with a stake in intellectual property knows — as she does — that today's copyright challenges must lead to tomorrow's creativity, protecting the rewards our founders set in the Constitution to provide fair support for those whose creations are truly original.
"Conversations in Advocacy" is your weekend digital tip sheet on music advocacy and the policies that affect music makers and their craft. New installments post every Friday.